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February 14, 2014

Fantasy Players to Avoid

Third Basemen

by BP Fantasy Staff


To read the previous articles in this series, click below:

I'm out of hot corner puns, so… just maybe don't draft these players.

Nick Castellanos, Tigers
If there's been a running theme in my avoid picks for this series it's that I'm not a big advocate of paying retail for rookie hitters, even in the face of what we've seen recently with the Trouts, Harpers, and Machados of the world. Machados? Machadoes? Let's call the whole thing off. Even in a high-end realistic scenario in which Castellanos lives up to his potential right away and stays in the lineup all season, we shouldn't be expecting more than around a .275 average and 15 homers—which would be a great rookie campaign for him. But the potential pitfalls are numerous. The easy pitfall is that he struggles at the plate, but possibly the more important one is that he struggles in the field. Castellanos was no sure bet to stay at third base long-term before the Prince Fielder signing shifted Miguel Cabrera to his "natural" position. Now that he's back, he's going to have to prove he doesn't deserve a second tour of duty in left field, where he'd have more competition for full-time at bats. —Bret Sayre

Todd Frazier - Cincinnati Reds
Consistent power is Frazier’s calling card, as he’s posted back to back 19-home-run seasons. His value varied wildly in those years though, as he hit .273 in 2012 and .234 in 2013. That can be blamed on his batting average on balls in play a bit, as he went from .316 to .269, but that doesn’t mean it can be blamed solely on bad luck. In 2012, Frazier had a fly-ball rate just south of 45 percent so a league average (or slightly above) BABIP would seem to indicate good fortune. While he did drop his fly-ball clip to under 40 percent for 2013, he also lost four percentage points off his line-drive rate, which means he wasn’t making the hard contact he was previously. The difference in production meant that Frazier went from being 21 percent above league average in 2012 to precisely league average in 2013. This isn’t to say Frazier can’t rebound, but with 20 home runs appearing to be an upper limit, the upside isn’t there to pop him over some other options, especially with his RBI opportunities taking a hit now that Shin-Soo Choo is in Texas. —Craig Goldstein

Chase Headley, Padres
Headley does a lot of things well. He has seasons in which he hits over .280. He has seasons in which he hits 30-plus homers. He has seasons in which he steals 15-plus bases. He's a nice, well-rounded player. The problem with evaluating Headley is that one tends to hope he’ll eventually put all of those numbers together in a single, MVP-caliber campaign—but that’s quite unlikely to be the case. Headley is entering his age-30 season, still plays in the worst offensive ballpark in the majors, bats in the middle of a bad lineup, and saw his average fall off a cliff last season despite a favorable BABIP. His days of swiping double-digit bags could very well be over, and it should be apparent that his 31-homer season is the outlier—not his multiple 10-13-homer campaigns. Again, this is a well-rounded player who should see a rebound in average from 2014, but he's not the breakout candidate many predict, even if he does end up being dealt to the Yankees in June. He's a good, unspectacular option for 2014, so "avoid" is harsh, but I certainly wouldn't reach for him or project him to break out. —Ben Carsley

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
I’m 100 percent guilty of over-hyping Lawrie based on 43 games in 2011. That was my first practical lesson is small sample sizes on the fantasy beat, so, naturally, I now have a hard time trusting most tiny samples, especially when they are presented to me in toothpick form at a local grocery. In two seasons since his rookie year, Lawrie has collected 22 home runs and 22 stolen bases. That’s the kind of production I expected him to provide in one season, not two. Lawrie is still capable of giving us a 15/15 season, but he needs to stay on the field first. He’s been on the DL three times since his big-league debut, appearing in 107 games in 2013 after playing in 125 the year before. Maybe my sights were set too high following his call-up to the show, but Lawrie isn’t someone I can trust to man the hot corner, even if he comes at a discount. If he does stay healthy, I'll no longer feel like I'm missing out. —Alex Kantecki

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (02/14)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/07)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/21)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (02/14)

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